The adventures of 4 teachers on Teacher's Day
Over the Fall we had a couple of days when the school was closed due to concerns about the typhoons that were heading our way from the Philippines. Luckily the typhoons missed us but one did land in Da Nang, about 3 hours away from us and we were told Da Nang looked like a war zone. We were excited about the month of November since we had a day off on November 20th because it was teacher’s day in Vietnam. Although not a statutory holiday, we did get the day off and we were pumped for that. Also, in addition to having a day off, it was also Leah’s birthday. We had decided that we would go to Da Nang on our day off. Although it was only one day that we had off we were able to arrange it that we really had 1.5 days off.
During lunch time on the 20th of November, Mrs. Thao invited all of us including the Vietnamese teachers for lunch in honour of teacher’s day. In addition, because it was also Leah’s birthday, a cake was ordered. The meal was quite good and we were all full. All of us had afternoon and evening classes that day which ended at 8:30 p.m. We arranged for a ride to Da Nang at midnight but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to stay awake that late and was wondering how I would feel the next day as we had a pretty heavy itinerary of sightseeing, shopping, dinner and then we had planned to take in a movie. There was no need to worry….I was pumped.
We had an early breakfast which was included in the cost of our room. I had a room by myself which I preferred and the other teachers shared 2 rooms between themselves. Leah did not spend the day shopping with us as she was quite sick. After breakfast we walked to the beach which looked pretty rough but it was quite pretty. Next, we took a taxi to a nearby Pagoda which is up a winding road. The view of the beach from the Pagoda was quite stunning. We then scooted around by taxi to different malls….and boy did we shop. I picked up earrings and some costume jewellery which was quite inexpensive. I also picked up some dried lavender for one of my students because she had never heard of or had seen lavender before. Before I left one of the malls I picked up 3 small perfumes that came in a gift pack and each perfume was bottled in a clear figurine shaped bottle of a woman wearing the traditional dress called an Ao Dai (pronounced ow yi). Each figurine had a different hat which represented a particular city. One City represented was the old capital of Vietnam, Hue, the second figurine represented Ho Chi Minh City and the 3rd figurine represented Hanoi. After our first round of shopping, we came back to our rooms around noon hour and checked in to see how Leah was doing and then after a few minutes we were off again; this time to the market. We quickly decided that we would forego the movie and continue shopping and then head out for a nice meal. I bought nice but super cheap tops which I was planning to give to my daughter or other friends who were slim in build. I also bought 5 purses - 3 of them as gifts, one purple leather purse for me and the 5th purse I will keep aside as an extra gift that I will give to someone somewhere down the road. I also picked up some small souvenirs at the market for my co-workers.
For dinner we decided to eat at an Italian restaurant. I ordered a pizza which I had been craving for several months and I also ordered a cocktail – a Singapore Sling. I can’t remember the last time I had a Singapore Sling. My pizza was okay, I had been hoping it would be better. We left the restaurant full and tired. We picked up some food up for Leah and once we arrived back to our rooms we showed her our treasures. We had all chipped in and bought her some goodies for her birthday and also picked up a small cheesecake for her….we all had a piece and it was decadent.
I hit the sack early and woke up early as we needed to start heading back to Quang Ngai as our classes started late in the afternoon. We stopped just outside of Quang Ngai, near the airport and went to Jollybean (a fast food place) for lunch. There also happened to be a Blue Notes clothing store and a Co-op Mart (grocery/retail store). The teachers bought some shoes at Co-op Mart that were a great price. Reluctantly, we finally made our way to our house and unpacked our treasures and packed up our school materials and headed towards the school. We all agreed it was great to be away from Quang Ngai and although we wished we had been in Da Nang longer, but we all knew that the time away was just what we needed. Of course in just over a month’s time it would be Christmas and another day off. How we decided to spend Christmas was another story.